Gov. Bill Lee signs permitless carry bill into law as Tennessee joins 18 other states

Gov. Bill Lee signs permitless carry bill into law as Tennessee joins 18 other states

Tennessee is officially one of 19 states where permitless gun carry will be the law. Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday signed a bill allowing most adults to carry a handgun without a permit, an effort that was at the top of his legislative agenda for the year. The law takes effect July 1. In a statement on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, Lee thanked the Tennessee legislature and National Rifle Association for their work to pass the bill. It allows people 21 and older to carry handguns openly or concealed without a permit, along with members of the military ages 18 to 20. The new law does not apply to long guns, a point of contention among gun rights activists. The Lee administration has estimated the legislation will cost the state as much as $20 million annually. The bill is backed by the National Rifle Association but opposed by the state’s leading law enforcement groups, which have argued the change could increase crime and officer vulnerability. When the bill passed the House on March 29 , Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, said it was "not the end of the journey" for expanding gun rights in Tennessee. Democrats, however, were largely against the measure. "It seems that more is never enough when it comes to gun laws in this state," said Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis. In addition to removing Tennessee’s misdemeanor offense for most people who carry a handgun without a permit, the bill also increases punishments for certain gun crimes. […]

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